BTS antenna revenues increased 49% in 2014 to a record USD $4.3 billion;
Near term outlook mixed due to weakness in 2015 and recovery in 2016 and 2017
Massive MIMO technology for 4G+/5G may drive continued innovations for antennas
Salem, NH, November 17, 2015: The global BTS antenna shipments increased by 20% in 2014 to record unit volumes, according to the latest report from EJL Wireless Research titled “Global BTS Antenna Market Analysis and Forecast, 2015-2019 7th Edition.” “The increase in 2014 was due to TDD antenna shipments for China Mobile, Reliance Jio, and partially to Sprint, as volumes surged by 126%. The FDD market grew only 3.4% The FDD market continues to shift away from legacy 2-port single column (single band) sectorized panel antennas to multi-port multi-column (4-12-ports) antennas. As a result, multi-port antennas were 68% of the overall mix in 2014, compared with 62% in 2013,” says founder and President, Earl Lum. EJL Wireless Research is forecasting that the BTS antenna market will experience a 30% decline in shipments in 2015 due to weakness in China as well as in North America. EJL Wireless Research is also reporting the accuracy of its prior forecast for 2014 with a 1% variance in overall unit shipments.
FDD multi-port BTS antenna shipments grew 14% year over year while legacy 2-port antenna shipments declined by 14%. Initial volumes of 12-port products shipped in 2014 with strong growth from the higher port count products (6/8/10-ports). We estimate that the Tier 1 BTS antenna suppliers controlled 54% of total BTS antenna shipments in 2014, down from 59% in 2013. Chinese antenna OEMs were able to capitalize on domestic opportunities as well as regional expansions in 2014 to capture market share.
“From an RF connector perspective, the market continued to be dominated by 7/16 DIN type and N type in 2014 with small amounts of 4.1/9/5 DIN and 4.3/10 DIN connectors shipping. We expect the market to shift towards the 4.3/10 DIN type due to higher PIM performance as well as use of these connectors on higher port count antenna products (10/12/14-ports) due to their smaller footprint,” says Lum.
Total revenues including passive and semi-active antennas reached USD $4.3 billion in 2014, up 49% from 2013 levels. EJL Wireless Research forecasts antenna revenues to reach a record USD $5.5 billion in 2016.
“China maintained its leadership position as the largest BTS antenna market in 2014 with 38% share as China Mobile’s TDD-LTE deployment drove substantial shipments while China Unicom and China Telecom FDD LTE deployments also contributed to regional demand. We expect this to rebound in 2016,” says Lum.
We are introducing the concept of an integrated eNodeB active antenna (eNb-AIA) supporting 4G+ and 5G massive MIMO (64T64R+) solutions that takes the integration of antennas to yet another level of sophistication and complexity. Chinese vendors such as Datang Telecom, Huawei Technologies, and ZTE have already demonstrated prototypes of these solutions earlier at Mobile World Congress Barcelona and at Mobile World Congress Shanghai with impressive throughput results.